The Silo

“The Silo,” Friend, Sept. 2003, 30

The Silo

Based on a true story

Listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you (D&C 100:2).

“Hey, Mike, let’s run out to the silo,” Lance called to his younger brother as he ran past him.

“Wait up!” Mike ran as fast as he could to catch up.

The two boys lived on a big farm in the country with their mother and grandfather. They loved the fresh air, the open space, and the green fields that turned gold in the fall. But most of all, they loved the silo. To Mike, it looked like a giant soup can without the label.

As the boys got closer to it now, they could see its rusty patches, dents, and cracks. Once Mike had asked Lance about them. Lance explained, “You know how Grandpa’s face is kind of wrinkled and how he has brown spots on his hands? It’s because he’s old. Well, that’s how it is with the silo. I bet it was shiny and smooth when it was new.”

For two boys with active imaginations, the silo was all sorts of things. Some days it was an ancient castle. Sometimes they pretended it was a tall skyscraper or a pirate ship. Mike especially enjoyed standing in the center of it and yelling as loud as he could, then hearing his echo bounce off the curved walls.

When the boys reached the silo, Lance said, “Let’s play spaceship.” For the next twenty minutes, they pretended to soar through space and discover new planets.

They took turns climbing to the top of the steel ladder rungs welded inside and outside the silo, pretending that they were on the spaceship’s observation deck. Just as Mike spotted a new planet, Mother’s voice brought both space explorers back to earth.

“Mike! Lance! Time for supper.”

During supper, Grandpa asked the boys what they had been up to.

“We were playing spaceship in the silo,” Lance said.

“You boys sure enjoy that old silo, don’t you?”

“You bet,” Mike said. “Grandpa, can I ask you a question? Back in the old days, what was the silo used for?”

“Well, it was kind of like a big closet to store things in,” Grandpa said. “When this farm was in full swing, we needed somewhere to store all the feed for the cattle.”

Mike’s eyes grew big. “You mean you filled the whole silo with just feed? You must have had a lot of cattle!”

“We did. I remember when my papa had the silo built. I was just about your age. It was new and shiny, and one of the tallest things I’d ever seen.”

After supper, Mike cleared the table, and Lance helped Mother wash the dishes. When the dishes were done, Lance asked if he and Mike could go play.

“No,” Mother said. “I want to talk to you both. Let’s go into the front room.”

From the look on Mother’s face, Lance knew that she had something serious on her mind. The boys followed her into the front room and sat down.

“I know how much you enjoy playing in the silo,” she began, “but today I had a strong feeling. Right before I called you in for dinner, I felt that you shouldn’t play in it anymore.”

“But Mom, that’s our favorite place to play!” Lance cried.

“Yeah, Mom!” Mike frowned.

“I know you like playing there. But I can’t deny what I felt. You’ve learned about the Holy Ghost at church, and we’ve talked about Him at home. Mike, what does the Holy Ghost do?”

“He helps us figure things out.”

“Yeah, and He helps us know what’s true,” Lance added. “But what does that have to do with the silo?”

“I want to tell you about a couple of things that happened to me,” Mother began. “When your dad and I were first married, we went on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Even though it was getting late in the day, your father wanted to push on to the next town before stopping for the night. But I had a strong feeling that we should stop right where we were. I couldn’t explain why I felt that way, but I did. I told your father, and he said, ‘If that’s what you feel we should do, we’ll do it.’ Now, to this day, I don’t know why I felt that way, but I’m glad that we didn’t drive any farther until the next morning.

“One more thing,” Mother continued. “The night your dad died—before I got the phone call telling me what had happened—I already knew. All that night I had had a feeling that something was terribly wrong.

“In both cases, I am absolutely certain that it was the Holy Ghost speaking to me.”

“And that’s how you feel about the silo?” Lance asked.

“That’s right. I can’t give you any other reason except that I strongly feel you shouldn’t play there anymore.”

Later that night, when they were both in bed, Mike asked, “Lance, do you really believe what Mom said about the Holy Ghost?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“How come?”

“I’ve never told anyone this, but do you know Bobby Morrison?”

“The tall kid with red hair?”

“That’s the one. Well, last year he and I planned how to cheat on a history test. I’m not going to tell you what the plan was, because I don’t want you trying a dumb stunt like that.”

“If it’s so dumb, why did you do it?”

“Well, I’m getting to that part. When the test started, it was like I could feel this voice. And it was really strong. It said, ‘You know it’s wrong to cheat.’ After that, I just couldn’t go through with it.”

“And that voice was the Holy Ghost?”

“Yeah. So I know that there is a Holy Ghost. If Mom says that He spoke to her, I believe her.”

“So you’re not even going to sneak over to the silo?”


“Well,” Mike said reluctantly, “I guess I won’t either.”

The next few days were hard for the boys. They had to think of new games to play that didn’t involve the silo. One afternoon Lance said, “Let’s put a puzzle together.”

“Ah, who wants to do that?” Mike groaned.

“Do you have any better ideas?”

Since Mike didn’t, they set up a table on the porch and started working on a puzzle. But Mike had a hard time concentrating—his eyes kept wandering in the direction of the silo. The good old silo. “Too bad we can’t play there anymore,” he thought miserably.

“Hey, stop daydreaming,” Lance said.

Before Mike could reply, Mother came out with a pitcher of cool lemonade.

As the three of them drank from frosty glasses, they heard a low rumble. The ground trembled, and the puzzle pieces on the table started doing a crazy dance.

“Look!” Mike pointed at the silo.

It wobbled and leaned to one side. The rumble grew louder while another sound filled the air—the sound of metal scraping, grinding, and ripping. A great cloud of dust rose up as the silo crashed to the ground.

Grandpa came running out of the house. “What in the world?” Then he saw the silo. “Oh! Oh, my!”

That night Mike lay in bed awake. Mother really had been prompted by the Holy Ghost. He was glad that he and Lance had listened to her. He promised himself and Heavenly Father that he would live the kind of life that would allow him to hear for himself the Holy Ghost’s still, small voice.


Elder Richard G. Scott

“Obey the inner feelings that come as promptings from the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 75.

Illustrated by Mark Robison